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Counsellors reach out to the disappointed

Occasionally, when Janet Hill picks up the phone, the voice on the other end will crackle with elation.

It makes a change from the tears. Ms Hill is one of 55 advisers staffing a helpline that mainly guides pupils who have done worse than expected.

The helpline, which will operate till August 27, is a joint project by BBC Radio 1 and the Department for Education and Skills. It expects to receive up to 14,000 calls.

Ms Hill, a careers adviser for 14 years, said: " We talk them through all their choices: they can resit, or go through clearing. But there are also those who do better than they've expected. Sometimes they just need reassurance that they've really got into university."

And it is not just grades that worry teens. "We have calls from people worried about going to university and leaving their family," said Ms Hill.

"We just give general advice and listen." The campaign ends in a two-hour radio phone-in on August 29, when experts will answer teenagers'


Helpline number: 0808 100 8000

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